I survived the Oslo winter.

Things have been a bit quiet on this blog lately, which only means living here is becoming normal.

But since I hear the question "How do you deal with the winter? I'd get depressed!" often, I thought I'd write a post about it. Because before coming here, the winter was my bigger fear: a long stretch of darkness and winter blues looming on the horizon. Well it turns out, this was the least blue winter of my life! Here's how I've been dealing with winter so far:

  • Sure, there are less hours of daylight. But when there is daylight, it is proper sunlight! When it's not, it usually means it is/has been snowing, and snow just brightens everything up! So compared to my native Low Country, it was quite an upgrade: sunshine in the winter, and the snow replaced the gloomy rain. Paired with vit. D, it worked wonders to keep my mood up.
  • Keeping busy. Well alright, first of all, being home for Christmas and New Year's was incredibly comforting. But besides that, January might have been the darkest month I've ever had, and also in my top 3 busiest, craziest months. February is somewhere up there too, training 2-3 times a week with people I love being around, plus traveling and having friends over made it ridiculously busy. Which means time just flew by! And given we've gained about 2h30 of daylight in February only, I was simply too busy to really notice the short days. I however recently noticed that it is now full daylight when I get up and when I leave the office, which also got me in a very good mood!
    Signing up for training for the entire year was definitely a smart move, as it ensured I would leave the house and see people at least twice a week all year long, no matter how tired I was or how dark it was. I probably would have done it anyway, but it was a good anti-couch-potato safeguard.
  • Waking up in the dark was always the toughest thing about winter for me. So I have this magical alarm clock that slowly lights up, mimicking sunrise. It gives a soft, bright and warm light similar to sunlight, and as silly as it sounds, it is extremely popular here, and for a good reason: it really, really helps!
  • Similar to this, embracing the concept of koselig was inevitable. Koselig means everything from a nice conversation, to a cosy atmosphere (lots of candles are usually involved, as well as fluffy blankets and a cup of tea), to reading a lovely book (I re-read Harry Potter because I wanted something familiar - needless to say it worked!), to eating hot soup on the couch with a friend, to getting a package from home, to baking cinnamon rolls and cookies every other week. All the little things that give you this warm feeling inside are part of the word koselig, and they go hand in hand with making winter a lovely time. For a more complete explanation, go to the Frog in the Fjord blog (which has many, many other great posts about Norwegian life and culture seen from an expat's point of view).

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So for any of you thinking of applying, or of moving to Norway, the winter really isn't that bad as long as you follow these pieces of advice, given to me by Norwegians themselves: take vitamin D, use that magical alarm clock, enjoy every minute of sunlight (read: layer up and go for a walk!), keep busy and keep koselig!

Warm hugs from cold Oslo,